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Have you ever had your dentist suggest you need to come in frequently for periodontal maintenance? What does that even mean? It means stopping the progression of gum disease. The word “periodontal” literally means “around the tooth.”
In this five-part series, we’re discovering how Electrolyzed Oxidizing – EO Water can be used to influence the overall health of your mouth, for better or for worse, depending on how you use it. Our friend Jenny (not her real name) had a dentist who documented drastic negative changes in her mouth over about 6 years. He attributed it, in part, to the use of EO water as a daily mouth rinse. Yikes (if it’s true).
What we’re discovering in this series affects almost every human being with teeth… that would be YOU.
In Part 1 of This Series We Introduced Five Main Players:
2. Bacteria (and their reduction by brushing, flossing, and anti-bacterial mouth rinses… this is where the EO water comes in)
3. Cavities (officially called caries)
5. Gum disease (officially called periodontal disease)
Today’s discussion is about…
Player 4: Gums. It’s necessary to understand and define healthy in order to understand disease.
If you came here for education, you’ll probably like the part where I tell you the shocking truth that what you’re being told about gum disease by your dentist, most dental associations in the world, and commercials on TV… is ABSOLUTELY WRONG! I’ve even got a powerful research ally to back me up on that.
You may have heard that 85% of adults have some form of gum disease. Your dentist or hygienist will say that and it’s all over the internet so it must be true, right?
I say that number is hogwash, horse pucky, bull, and poppycock (pick your animal analogy here). The number is drastically inflated, in my humble opinion, only because of the definition of gum disease.
Yep, I’m a lone wolf (almost) against the most of the dental world when it comes to a major “fact” about gum disease. And I’ll bet many of you will actually agree with me when you hear what I have to say. Remember, Stephen Covey reminded us that “every truly great breakthrough is a break-with an old way of thinking.” EO water is going to change the way you look at the health of your gums and teeth.
Let’s make some sense of this. I want to compare your teeth, which are anchored in bone, to a fence post buried in the ground. For most fence posts, the longer part of the post is above the ground with just enough buried underground to make the fence post stable against all forces applied against it. A little picket fence installed just for appearance doesn’t have to be nearly as sturdy as a fence designed to keep in large animals such as horses that are known to lean and push on fences in order to get to food outside their area.
Just so you understand the analogy, the forces applied to your teeth are phenomenally powerful and so it’s more like requiring a fence that will contain the pushing force of an elephant. We need some seriously deep anchorage.
A typical tooth has somewhere around 25-35% of the tooth that you can see above the gum and the remaining 65-75% embedded in bone. Can you imagine a fence post with 75% of the post buried and only 25% above the dirt? That’s a fence post that would stand up to the forces of an elephant pushing hard against it.
Your teeth have to withstand forces from around 150 up to 300 pounds or more! Certain people can bite much harder than that, especially grinding teeth during sleep. Do you see why they’re designed to be anchored so well to the bone? That anchorage has everything to do with healthy gums, and the ligaments that attach the teeth to the jaw bones.
Using the fence post analogy, the ligament and bones around teeth are equivalent to the solid dirt around a deeply embedded fence post. As long as the ligament and bone are intact, your teeth remain solidly supported and you can easily chew with very heavy forces.
The gums, in this analogy, are only a leathery covering ABOVE the bone attachment, much like grass that grows above the dirt AROUND a fence post. The health of the grass will have very little, if anything, to do with the support of the fence post against pushing and pulling forces. Remember those elephant-like forces are very powerful and very real.
How powerful? I once had a patient who loved to eat chicken wings… bones and all (no kidding!). The ligament and bones around the roots of her teeth were so solid, that she could do it with ease. Now THAT is some elephant-like force. (Aside: her teeth above the gums kept breaking and we had to put a lot of crowns on her teeth so she could keep up her bone-crushing habit… NOT RECOMMENDED)
Now let’s discuss the hogwash claim that 85% of adults have gum disease. Look again at the picture with the inflamed gums (or the yellowing sickly grass). Do you see anything that weakens the supporting structure of the tooth (or the fence post)?
Neither do I… and that’s the point.
Neither do I… and that’s the point.
The gums are a covering and not really part of the attachment of tooth to bone. In their healthy state they are firm and tight and range in color from light pink to a plum-colored purple, depending upon your race. If they get inflamed (red, puffy, bleeding easily) then we call it GINGIVITIS. It literally means inflammation of the gingiva (gums).
Gingivitis causes no pain. It causes no damage. It causes no change to your lifestyle. It doesn’t stop you eating whatever you want (although it may stop people wanting to kiss you as it can be kind of stinky). It is a reaction to plaque bacteria that build up around the tooth where it’s near the gums.
Brush and floss the plaque away and the whole inflammatory condition (gingivitis) goes away in a day or two (and people may want to kiss you again). Would you really call that a disease?
Neither would I. I’d call it a “condition” because it’s so easily reversible
But dentists, hygienists, dental associations (and don’t forget commercials) will all tell you that 85% of adults have some sort of gum disease because they include the “condition” of “gingivitis” in the mix. I say hogwash, horse pucky…. oh yeah, we already went through all that.
Real gum disease is called “periodontitis” and it means inflammation of the periodontium (the stuff around the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth… sorry). Periodontitis is the REAL gum disease and it causes breakdown of the ligament and bone. It damages and weakens the supporting structure around the tooth. And here’s where I get to reference my powerful ally to back up my “hogwash” belief.
And here’s where I get to reference my powerful ally to back up my “hogwash” belief.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and reported by the American Academy of Periodontology (the folks who REALLY know gum disease), the true level of American adults that have periodontitis is only 47.2% That’s a heck of a difference from 85%, wouldn’t you say?
But even these folks call periodontitis “the more advanced form of periodontal disease.” Even THEY consider gingivitis part of gum disease. You know what I think about that. So believe me or believe them about how large a percentage of people have gum disease.
But let’s make one one final comment as it relates to you (and let’s not forget Jenny). Both the inflammatory condition of gingivitis and the damaging disease of periodontitis are the result of your body’s fight against plaque bacteria. It involves your immune system trying to fight off these little invaders. The casualties of the war are your ligament and bone.
The reason we brush and floss is NOT to make our mouths have zero bacteria. That’s seems not to be possible on a practical level. Rather, we brush and floss in order to constantly reduce the AMOUNT of plaque bacteria that is constantly growing like weeds. This helps our immune system more easily win the battle. The rules are 1) get the plaque off, and 2) don’t do yourself any damage along the way.
Here’s where we get to the Electrolyzed Oxidizing – EO Water as a mouth rinse. It will kill all the bacteria it can touch within about 30 seconds. Cool. I said in a previous post that the acidic nature of EO water won’t damage your teeth as long as you only apply it for this short 30 seconds and then raise the pH of the teeth back up above the damage zone of pH 5.5 by rinsing with any water more alkaline than that (I recommend at least 8.5 pH or above).
Jenny’s dentist said she had damage in her mouth caused in part by rinsing with EO water. Did it affect her teeth? Did it affect her gums? Will she need periodontal maintenance?
In our upcoming final post of this series we’ll get to the bottom of the mystery for Jenny’s teeth. I promise you the information is extremely relevant to you too. We’ll show the damage that real gum disease can do in a mouth and check to see if that’s the damage Jenny’s dentist was talking about. Until the final chapter of the mystery is solved…